All Faiths Food Bank will offer numerous food distributions in Sarasota and DeSoto counties this holiday season. Funds from the food bank's ongoing “ThankFULL” campaign will enable All Faiths to provide more than 12,500 turkeys and sides—the largest number ever—in advance of Thanksgiving this year.
On Nov. 6, frozen turkeys and side dishes will be distributed at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, starting at 9 a.m. and continuing as long as supplies last. Another distribution in Central Sarasota will be held at Ed Smith Stadium on Nov. 18 from 4-6 p.m. Over the next several weeks, additional turkey distributions will take place through All Faiths’ partner agencies, including school pantries, youth-serving nonprofits, and mobile pantry sites. Proof of Sarasota or DeSoto County residency is required.
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented spike in need for food assistance. In 2020, All Faiths saw a sharp increase in the number of community members using its services. It distributed 60 percent more meals than in 2019—nearly 22.5 million pounds of food and 18.4 million meals. Of those using its programs and services, 49 percent were new clients; an astonishing 362% more users visited the organization’s website seeking food resources last year. In 2021, All Faiths has distributed almost 40 percent more food than it did prior to the pandemic.
The funds for the turkey distributions are being raised through gifts to the ThankFULL campaign as well as through the support of the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which contributed $50,000. The goal of the ThankFULL campaign is to raise enough money to provide 3.2 million meals through the end of the year for families who are facing hunger.